By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
The U.S. economy created 203,000 jobs in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, roughly the same as in October, and bit more than expected. Employment increased in transportation and warehousing, health care, and manufacturing, while federal government employment declined somewhat. The official unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent.
Job growth has averaged 195,000 per month over the previous 12 months, so the current report is also a little above the norm. The change in payroll employment for September was revised from 163,000 to 175,000, and the change for October was revised from 204,000 to 200,000.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that for the week ending November 30, initial unemployment claims were at an annualized 298,000, a sharp decrease of 23,000 from the previous week. The less jumpy four-week moving average came in at 322,250, an unusually sharp decrease of 10,750 from the previous week.
GDP Expands on Inventory Growth
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Thursday that real U.S. gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2013, which is an upward revision of the previous estimate of GDP. According to the BEA, the second estimate is based on more complete source data than the “advance” estimate issued last month, which put real GDP growth at 2.8 percent
Much of the upward revision in real GDP reflected an increase in private inventory investment — that is, businesses buying things — and nonresidential fixed investment — that is, real estate and other investment. Those gains were partly offset by an upward revision to imports and a downward revision to exports, but not by much.
Investment in nonresidential structures increased 13.8 percent during the third quarter, a healthy clip, but still less than the second-quarter increase of 17.6 percent. Real residential fixed investment – most of which has to do with residential development or redevelopment – was up 13 percent during the quarter, compared with an increase of 14.2 percent during the second quarter.
Wall Street wasn’t overly impressed by the GDP numbers on Thursday, recording a decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 68.26 points, or 0.43 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost 0.43 percent and 0.12 percent, respectively.